by Lisa Siemens June 17, 2019
Being pregnant following a miscarriage has been nothing short of a roller coaster. It can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate the various emotions, fears, and unknowns that one can encounter when carrying their rainbow baby and I've had my fair share of struggles. I wanted to share more about my experience in the hopes that it might help others who are in the same season. We're are all in this together and joining in support can be one of the most beautiful sources of strength as we navigate whatever it is we're going through.
We lost our precious angel baby who we named Selah on November 23, 2018, the day after Thanksgiving. We had a little over a month of grieving, mourning, praying, and navigating loss before we found out we were pregnant again. This has been its own interesting journey because we’ve continued to grieve and have waves of healing in this pregnancy and I’ve experienced a lot of guilt over feeling as if I’m “moving on” from our first child. On New Year’s Day 2019, I took 4 pregnancy tests, which all showed either that precious double line or a blaring “Pregnant.” I took them into my husband, sat them next to him and we both just looked at them and quietly and slowly said “wow… guess we’ll make an appointment.” Yes... as solemn and straight-faced as that sounds, is how it happened.
Because you see, although we see and hear all these stories of how women told their husbands that they’re pregnant by using their pregnancy tests and how joyful they were as they celebrated that double line, that was ripped away from us when we lost Selah. Instead, we didn’t trust the test, had no emotions other than possibly fear. We prayed immediately, I set up an appointment with my Doctor and we waited.
The entire day I battled anxiety, and had to constantly go to God over and over and over again in prayer, trying so hard to release it all to Him. Since it was so soon after we went into that same office and got a negative pregnancy test, which then after blood work resulted in that phone call letting us know we were losing our pregnancy, every single part of that day was raw to me. On the day of our appointment, God spoke to me all day in images and through an overall feeling of comfort, but when we got to the office, it’s as if I had a post-traumatic stress reaction. I was hot, shaky, breathless, I cried when the nurse told me to go give the urine sample; she asked if I was okay and ready to try peeing, I said “physically, yes, emotionally, no.” I just kept playing the scene of the last time we were in there over and over in my head, certain we were going to leave with the same news. With my husband’s comforting hands on mine, we waited for what felt like an eternity for the Dr. to walk in after I did my urine test. There was a knock, she walked in, and said the test was positive. I wept. I had asked God before we went to this appointment, many times, to surprise us with Joy. I was only expecting sadness, for things to go exactly as they had before. Though we felt He was telling us that He was doing a new thing, I still refused to believe it. That day we walked out, surprised by Joy by a faithful God who showed me compassion and love throughout all my disbelief.
The time between each appointment has felt like a marathon. Especially in the first trimester when everything is so precarious and I still couldn’t feel any movements. It's also been interesting because whenever we've set up appointments, they always end up being the last possible day that we could have an appointment, which we know is no "coincidence". I also was so incredibly ill that first trimester that I was filled with worry about the health of our little rainbow babe since I was barely able to stand up most days. But what this has allowed us is time to spend wholeheartedly in prayer and communion with God in the waiting; the hardest thing to do.... when there’s no solid confirmations, just pure faith and trust in a Sovereign God. This has grown us exponentially. It has allowed me to pursue our Lord in a more fervent way as I rely on Him as my only Comforter, my only source of Hope; not this baby, not my husband, nothing else but Him. He has been so loving and merciful to us, allowing us to have this miracle and reminding us so gently who sits on the Throne.
There’s been many reasons to fear during my pregnancy. Small things have continued to come up all throughout. From almost passing out many times in the first trimester, to finding out I’m anemic, receiving a high tsh value early on, finding out I have a placenta previa, failing the first glucose test, and it goes on… Many reasons to fear, but there is power in God’s Word and what He has to say about fear. As fear would start to suffocate me, I would saturate myself with His Truth. This would loosen the grip that fear had on me and would give me the room to reach out to God and be blanketed with His peace. There are seemingly endless verses that speak about fear and worry in the Bible that remind us we have nothing to fear because the same God who holds the entire universe, holds us in His arms. He is sovereign and He calls us by name. It is natural for fear to creep up because we are human and the world we live in is broken. We don’t have to admonish that fear or feel any guilt over feeling it. That’s not what God ever says. No, His words are filled with love and kindness, reminders of His strength, sovereignty, and nearness; Truths that remind us there’s no reason to fear. He is in control. Worrying is useless and will only cause us pain, but He has compassion for those that worry, gently calling us back to Him in faith.
Having faith in times of trial is a challenge that refines us. How easy it is to believe when things are going smoothly in our lives. Yet, we find ourselves becoming self-reliant in those times, becoming too comfortable, and allowing self-righteousness to creep in. These times of struggle are God’s gifts. They strengthen us and bring us closer to Him. They teach us and allow our hearts to open up. They provide us with experience that He then uses in remarkable ways.
My husband and I had seen Isaiah 43:18-19 come up a couple times around the beginning of our pregnancy. This is what it says:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland."
Randomly one day, a co-worker of his walked up to him and told him she needed to give him a word that came up 3 times for her and she felt compelled to share. It was Isaiah 43:18-19. On the day of one of our first appointments with our OBGYN, I woke up, paralyzed by worry. I opened my phone and the verse of the day was Isaiah 43:18-19. God speaks to us. Before knowing Him, I would call these “coincidences” but there are no coincidences. He is active and working in our lives, which is why things like this have become such an incredible comfort because I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt, it’s God Himself speaking to me rather than some random universe happenstance.
One of the most beautiful things that comes out of trial is the growth of our own empathy. Whatever it is that we went through, we now share something in common with many others who have been through the same or who will at some point. The community that Selah has brought us is precious. The ways that God has brought people into our lives that are hurting and how He uses our story to fill them with hope, THAT is a gift. Our little love didn’t get to come down and be with us, but from Heaven, is doing more than I could ever ask for. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to just be there for another who knows this pain or a similar one. I know how valuable that kind of support is as we needed it in our time of sorrow. One of the first people I told was my beautiful friend, Kandis, who had gone through the same loss not too long before and now has her precious rainbow baby. The words God spoke through her were words I carried with me every day. And the words God has spoken through me, I pray will do the same for others.
One of the more surprising emotions to navigate is guilt. I feel a wave of guilt every time I post my bump online. I even feel it when I’m in public. I distinctly remember when my husband and I were out not long after our miscarriage, and I saw this lady walk in with a huge pregnant belly and I just started shaking as tears filled my eyes. I never want my belly to be a source of pain for anyone else and it has been very challenging for me to celebrate it and not hurt each time, knowing that others could feel that same way as I did. But I recognize that this is God’s redemption story and it should not be hidden. I pray each time I post a photo of my belly that God would comfort any that needs it and that in our story, others would find hope in Him. I will fully embrace the joy that He has filled us with in our precious son and will also keep my heart open to others who need to be embraced themselves.
Healing is a process that is different for everyone. Everyone has their own story and how we have gone through this pregnancy after loss is not how everyone will do it. It may look different, it may feel different, it may bring entirely different challenges and sanctification. But at the root of it, is hope, faith, and trust. Hope in a Savior who gave His life so that we would not have anything to fear. Faith in a God who is working in your favor. Trust in a Heavenly Father who loves His precious children.Whenever anyone sees my belly now and asks if this is our first child, I say no, our first is in Heaven. This continues to make the little one we lost have a place in our hearts and this world and keeps this mama’s heart healing.
The last thing I want to say is this: we are all in this together. No matter your story, you are NOT alone. Please reach out to those around you or any that you see that might have a similar story that you and connect with. It is all a part of the healing process and ensures you stay tightly knit in community which is key when going through any trial in life. You’re not alone and don’t have to do this alone.
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